21.8.2020

KOAS Seminaarimäki

The KOAS Seminaarinmäki complex consists of two four-storey wood apartment buildings near Jyväskylä’s city centre grid plan. It is on the southern edge of the Seminaarinmäki district’s detached house area, which has buildings of cultural value. The entire building, elevator shafts included, is constructed from wooden volumetric elements.

The buildings of the Central Finland Student Housing Foundation (KOAS) in the Seminaarinmäki district offer a total of 103 apartments. Most apartments are studios, with a small share being one-bedroom units. From a student perspective, the site’s best aspect is its location near the city centre, between the University of Jyväskylä and the Mattilanniemi and Ylistönrinne campuses. It also meets the KOAS goals of providing environmentally friendly residences that are car free.

The site is in the Hämeenkatu area between Seminaarinmäki and the city’s southern access routes – an area formerly home to small-scale industry that is now being filled in with residential construction. The building gables have sculpture-like, white-plastered ends. Together with their associated courtyard walls, the warm tones of the varnished wood facades frame the courtyard while also protecting residents from traffic noise. The storage, meet-up, and sauna spaces for residents are split between a separate courtyard building and the ground floor of one of the smaller buildings facing the courtyard. The wooden construction material connects the buildings to the Seminaarinmäki mileu.

The KOAS Seminaarinmäki buildings are constructed from volumetric element blocks manufactured in Kuhmo but installed on site. This volumetric element solution was perfect for a student housing project with plenty of small apartments: the completed apartments, including their surfaces and fixtures, could be completed at the factory. This also meant that construction only took about nine months.

The apartments, stairwells and wood elevator shafts were all constructed from volumetric elements on top of the concrete basement floors. Made from CLT wood panels, the volumetric elements are load bearing and support the central corridors of the buildings. The building wet rooms are made from wet room elements placed inside the wood volumetric elements. The building service shafts are in separate units along the middle corridor outside the apartments, and the compact central ventilation units are on the top-most platform of the stairwells. The facades were clad with fire-retardant wood on site.

The extensive use of wood surfaces adds warmth to the simple apartments. In the apartment ceilings, the CLT surfaces of the volumetric elements have been varnished and left visible. The ash parquet flooring and the lacquered wood elements of the windows, which extend to the floor, supplement the bright atmosphere of the apartments. Materials and colours for the public spaces were selected to highlight the feel of wood buildings. The stairwells are bright and use light tones. The CLT surfaces have been left in plain sight where possible – in the corridor floors and the walls and steps of the main stairwell.

Seminaarinmäki is KOAS’s first wood apartment building site. According to KOAS’s CEO Matti Tanskanen, the choice of construction material was influenced by the area’s existing buildings of cultural and historical value, the quick construction method, and the general good characteristics of wood such as environmental friendliness. “CLT panels, made from cross-glued solid wood layers, act much like logs. With no plastic films, the breathable structure keeps the indoor humidity at an optimal level for human health. Wooden surfaces are beautiful interior design elements and give the apartments pleasant acoustics.”

Project in brief

KOAS Seminaarimäki

  • Location | Seminaarimäki, Jyväskylä
  • Purpose | Student housing
  • Constructor/Client | Keski-Suomen Opiskelija-asuntosäätiö sr (KOAS)
  • Architectural Design | Verstas Architects
  • Structural design | A-Insinöörit Suunnittelu Oy
  • Contractor | JVR-Rakenne Oy
  • Wood component supplier | Elementtisampo Oy
  • Interior design | Elexent Oy
  • Electrical design | LVI-Insinööritoimisto Koski-Konsultit Oy
  • Floor area | 4 290 m2
  • Total area | 4 920 m2
  • Year completed | 2018
  • Costs | 12 000 000€
  • Photographs | Mika Huisman and Joonas Ahtikallio
  • Text | Verstas Architects